Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Student Plagiarizing: Internet Addiction or Poor Preparation?

In response to :

I say, "I agree that this has nothing to do with Internet addiction. It has more to do with us (educators­) not properly preparing our students for how to do real research and write effectivel­y without plagiarizi­ng. Sometimes, professors ask students such obscure questions that the students just don't understand what they're being asked to do. In an effort to sound very academic, professors can tend to confuse students. Often, phrasing a task as simply as possible will yield the most thought-pr­ovoking responses. I've always felt that if an answer can be Googled, then we're probably not asking the right questions."

This doesn't absolve students from unethical behavior, but I do believe students who plagiarize feel trapped and if better prepared would have a better understanding of their options.

What do you say?


johnny bevacqua said...

I think that this may be a cause for much of the unethical (cheating) behaviour in our students. I also think that the obsession and reliance on grades has also created a unhealthy culture of high stakes and high pressure. A "win at all cost" mindset. Thks for sharing


Lots of students have always cheated and they will continue to - doesn't matter whether they do it in exams, presentations, homework, research assigments... Cheating can be the result of:
a) complete lack of interest
b) overwork
c) unethical behaviour
In any case, it's something we (teachers) are (at least partly) responsible for.


I found it humorous and revealing at the same time when a teaching colleague of mine was expounding the virtues of turnitin.com and he proudly showed me one of his students' "most original" papers. It was rated at "71% plagiarized." (grade 12 Business course)


My experience as a university lecturer points to a range of causes, and of levels of seriousness of student plagiarism. A lot of first-years are simply ignorant of what normal academic standards are, and seem not to have been taught about referencing at high school. Students who continue to cheat in their 3rd or 4th year are generally aware of what they are doing, but hope they won't be caught. Our response is initially to educate and remediate students' behaviour; if the offence recurs, then more serious sanctions are imposed. This is a huge issue for all educators today, and one we need to tackle with sensitivity and action.

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Anonymous said...

Hi Lee, I am commenting from EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama again. I agree in that I think it could be either reason. Either the student is lazy and just wants to get by with the easy method, or the student just doesn't realize that they are plagiarizing because they have not been taught the proper method of citing their source. As a student, I am sometimes afraid that I may not be citing something exactly right, which could lead to this problem.


Hi Justin,
Thanks for your comment. In my opinion, It is better to make an attempt at citing than to not cite at all. Plus, there are tons of free services on the Internet that allow you to plug in your information and then creates a citation for you in a variety of formats. Good luck with your studies.